Ascent: The Night Before – Part 1

This chapter was written by Scylla.

No matter how much he had tried to protest, things were not perfectly well with Amon.

The machine was almost complete, and Scylla had been working a full two hours in the morning when the bard finally dragged himself out of bed.  His skin looked blotchy and bruised, as if he had gotten in a drunken fight with a stone golem the previous evening. He had been coming in later, and later, and complaining of fatigue and headaches and retiring earlier and earlier into the night.  

He would deny it to everyone, shrugging off everyone’s concern, even as he struggled to try to follow his own writings from weeks before.  The fevers were leading to more and more use of the fever-root, to the point that she was refilling the jar every other day.

When she suggested he should rest, he vehemently denied anything was wrong, even going so far to accuse her of sabotaging things behind his back to slow things down in a half-stupor.

But Scylla knew better. 

The bloodshot eyes and sunken cheeks betrayed the progression of the aetherblight which consumed him from the inside out.  For the most part, she tried to ignore it and focus on the work ahead of her, despite his increasing frantic behavior.

Today, he had started in with his snippy comments on her workmanship. When she turned to give him a piece of her mind, he was in mid-collapse, his lanky frame slipping over the corner chair where he had tried to brace himself against the tremors.  

She was lucky that the others were nearby. Ben, Zuri and Koh had all helped carry his unconscious form to his bedroom.  Scylla raised her hand, spreading calming aether energies across his form, hoping that it would rejuvenate his broken body.  It was taking more and more effort to keep the wild energies from consuming him.

It was difficult to get his form to respond, but he always woke up.  But today, the energies simply spread away, nearly completely rejected by his battered flesh.  Worst of all, she didn’t have the benefit of an Allagan med-chambers.  She wasn’t even sure if even the finest Tower advancements would give him a chance at this point.  

Scylla pulled her hair back from her face as she strained to transfer energies to his form.

“It’s not working…”  She muttered to herself as she looked over his form. “He’s not taking up the aether… at least not enough to help him.”

He just needed a little longer.  It would be such a shame to lose her patient so close to the proposed treatment.

Or would it be?

This was Amon of the Tower, after all.  The same man who saw no trouble sawing her body into pieces and happily attaching it haphazardly to a pack of voidsent wolves.  Maybe she would be doing the world a favor to let him die.  Maybe she would be doing her soul a favor to bring closure to his life.

The white mage squeezed her hand over the edge of the linen sheet.  He looked up at her, eyes open but void of consciousness as tremors shook his form.  It would be easy enough to simply give up and pull the linen over his head.   

No one would know any better.

Scylla gritted her teeth, as she reached her in her pocket, watching Amon as he slipped away.

No one would know that she had broken her oath to do all in her power to save him.

The mage closed her eyes, but she could hear Amon gasp for breath.

No one would know… but herself.

Her eyes opened again as he choked, spitting up all over the bed.  She reached behind his head, helping to open up his airway.

“Why him… of all people?”  Scylla lamented as she pulled out an herbal tincture from her pocket, carefully measuring droplets of the thin blue liquid.  

If the aetherhealing wasn’t going to work on it’s own, she was going to turn to other means, teetering on the blurred lines between medicine and poisoning.  Perhaps the primitive forest medicine would work where aether had failed.  

“Why you?”  She pulled open his mouth, dropping the liquid under his tongue. “Why did I have to be stuck with you as the last Allagan left in Eorzea?  What sin earned me this fate?”

His cheeks seemed to tint just slightly pink from the gray, pale shade as he moaned.

“Amon?”  Scylla asked, knowing well that he could not respond.

It was only a small change, but that was all she needed to determine that it was working. It was that slight tipping towards life that drove her to work her healing energies all through the day. And it was only by sunset that the tremors subsided and his breathing began to calm.

She had done all that she could.  If he died, it wasn’t because she didn’t try.  She didn’t know why, but she had put all her effort forth to save him.

Scylla slumped on the chair, waiting… and hoping… that he would wake up. 

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